Zero prevalence of influenza A virus in two raptor species by standard screening

Gunnar Gunnarsson, Elsa Jourdain, Jonas Waldenström, Björn Helander, Peter Lindberg, Johan Elmberg, Neus Latorre-Margalef, Björn Olsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Disease can have severe impact on animal populations, especially in rare species. Baseline data for atypical host species are missing for a range of infectious diseases, although such hosts are potentially more affected than the normal vectors and reservoir species. If highly pathogenic avian influenza strikes rare birds of prey, this may have crucial impact on the predator species itself, but also on the food web in which it interacts. Here we present the first large-scale screening of raptors that regularly consume birds belonging to the natural reservoir of influenza A viruses. Influenza A virus prevalence was studied in two rare raptors, the white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). Nestlings were screened for active (181 white-tailed sea eagles and 168 peregrine falcons) and past (123 white-tailed sea eagles and 6 peregrine falcons) infection in 2006-2007, and an additional 20 succumbed adult white-tailed sea eagles were sampled in 2003-2006. Neither high- nor low-pathogenic influenza infections were found in our sample, but this does not rule out that the former may have major impact on rare raptors and their food webs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)387-390
    Number of pages3
    JournalVector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Biological Sciences (106)


    • Avian influenza
    • H5N1
    • low-pathogenic
    • peregrine falcon
    • white-tailed sea eagle


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